PhilHealth chief’s expenditures ‘aboveboard’

MANILA The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Thursday defended its Officer-in-Charge (OIC) president and CEO Dr. Celestina Ma. Jude de la Serna saying that all the expenditures made by the agency head were all "aboveboard."

They are aboveboard because we believe we have legal bases and we shall respond to the audit observation,Dr. Israel Francis Pargas, PhilHealth vice president for Corporate Affairs Group and spokesperson said in an interview.

Pargas said that the questioned travel expenses were allowed by PhilHealth as well as the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG). GOCCs refer to government-owned and -controlled corporations.

These travel expenses are allowed by the Corporation through a board resolution and the letter response from the GCG on our query, said Pargas.

He said dela Serna's trips were supported by documents such as travel authority and certifications signed by the appropriate offices.

He further clarified that reports citing that dela Serna stays in a hotel were wrong, saying that the PhilHealth head stays in an apartment whenever she is in Manila.

He said dela Serna's permanent residence is in Bohol prior to her appointment as OIC in April 10, 2017.

As of now, dela Serna is preparing to submit to COA all the answers as soon as possible, Pargas said.

Earlier, the news reports quoted the Commission on Audit (COA) that cited that dela Serna's expenditures reached almost a million pesos in 2017, asking the PhilHealth head to explain her expenditures for her accommodations, flights to and from Tagbilaran, and terminal fees. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency